3 Myths About Employing People With Criminal Histories

June 1, 2011


Stephanie R. Thomas, hosts “The Proactive Employer Podcast“, which is a weekly broadcast dedicated to EEO compliance and employment litigation risk management.

Last week she reported on the myths about employing people with criminal histories.

Here’s a recap of the podcast:

Each year, more than 700,000 people are released from federal and state prisons, and another 9 million cycle through local jails. Federal agencies are funding reentry efforts in communities all around the country, and the Obama administration is working across agencies to coordinate and advance efforts through the Federal Reentry Council.

Part of the reentry process is finding employment.

In this installment of The Proactive Employer Podcast, Stephanie talks about what the Federal Reentry Council is doing to assist with employment efforts. She talks about three common myths regarding employment of individuals with criminal backgrounds and she also covers common questions regarding employee background screening.


MYTH #1 : People with criminal records are automatically barred from employment.

MYTH #2: Businesses and employers have no way to protect themselves from potential property and monetary losses should an individual they hire prove to be dishonest.

  • FACT: Through the Federal Bonding Program (FBP), funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), fidelity insurance bonds are available to indemnify employers for loss of money or property sustained through the dishonest acts of their employees (i.e., theft, forgery, larceny, and embezzlement).
  • Get the Myth Buster fact sheet (PDF).

MYTH #3: The Federal Government’s hiring policies prohibit employment of people with criminal records.

Need help in sorting out the facts from myths about employee background checks? Give us a call at 1-800-809-2419. We’d love to hear from you.


Over 100 Employee Background Screening Resources

June 7, 2010

The Importance Of Accurate Background Checks

July 14, 2009

anonymous_gunLast week I reported how a Post-Hire Background Check could have prevented a terrible crime.

On the front page of this morning’s Dispatch I read…

Rape suspect got 2nd job because of faulty vetting

Weapons charges should have disqualified caregiver

It looks like this suspect was able to get a second job with Goodwill Columbus because of two errors with his background check:

  1. Goodwill ran a background check through the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) which incorrectly showed a weapons charges against him had been dismissed.  Actually, the suspect pleaded guilty in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to reduced misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed weapon and improper handling of a firearm in 2008 — convictions considered to be disqualifying offenses for working among people with developmental disabilities.That information was not on the BCI report, said Margie Pizzuti, president of Goodwill Columbus.
  2. Goodwill ran an additional background check through an online records-search service (I don’t know which company), but that report was confusing and Goodwill staff members apparently did not see that Quintero had been convicted, Pizzuti said.”This instructs us to be even more vigilant in finding out what’s in these reports and making sure we understand them,” she said. “If we had seen that and understood clearly, it probably would have been at least a red flag.”

Read the article here.


  • A manual on-site search at the county courthouse by an experienced researcher is often the most accurate, and up-to-date criminal search available.  Goodwill ran a BCI check which is the authorized central repository for all felony records for the state of Ohio.  The bureau relies on police departments, sheriff’s offices, and courts of record to submit arrest and court conviction data to the bureau for record updates.  The bureau did not have the most current information in this case.
  • Your background screening provider needs to provide you with an easy to read report so there is absolutely no question about the status of the person being screened.

FYI Screening, Inc. is a leading global provider of employee screening solutions to corporations, government agencies, healthcare systems and educational institutions.

  • Contact us for a 10 minute online demo of the easiest, most cost-effective and reliable solution for employee screening.

Employee Screening Articles For May 2009

June 1, 2009


In case you missed any of our employee screening articles for May, here’s a quick recap of our most popular:

Smart, Compliant Hiring Decisions Made Easy

FYI Screening, Inc. offers a complete portfolio of employee screening services that will help you work smarter while providing the industry’s fastest turnaround and the highest quality results.

This will allow your company to focus on what really matters: hiring and retaining the best employees possible.

  • Sign-Up for a demo to see our new, faster, smarter employee screening technology.

Photo Credit: arturodonate

Enforcement Of The New “Red Flags Rule” Delayed Again

April 30, 2009


The Federal Trade Commission will delay enforcement of the new “Red Flags Rule” until August 1, 2009, to give creditors and financial institutions more time to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs. For entities that have a low risk of identity theft, such as businesses that know their customers personally, the Commission will soon release a template to help them comply with the law. Today’s announcement does not affect other federal agencies’ enforcement of the original November 1, 2008 compliance deadline for institutions subject to their oversight.

“Given the ongoing debate about whether Congress wrote this provision too broadly, delaying enforcement of the Red Flags Rule will allow industries and associations to share guidance with their members, provide low-risk entities an opportunity to use the template in developing their programs, and give Congress time to consider the issue further,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said.

Are You Complying With The Red Flags Rule?

The Red Flags Rule requires many businesses and organizations to implement a written Identity Theft Prevention Program designed to detect the warning signs – or “red flags” – of identity theft in their day-to-day operations. Are you covered by the Red Flags Rule?

Download “Fighting Fraud with the Red Flags Rule: A How-To Guide for Business” here.

  • Find out if the rule applies to your business or organization
  • Get practical tips on spotting the red flags of identity theft, taking steps to prevent the crime, and mitigating the damage it inflicts
  • Learn how to put in place your written Identity Theft Prevention Program

By identifying red flags in advance, you’ll be better equipped to spot suspicious patterns when they arise and take steps to prevent a red flag from escalating into a costly episode of identity theft. Take advantage of other resources on this site to educate your employees and colleagues about complying with the Red Flags Rule.

Subscribe to our blog to stay current and learn more about the “Red Flags Rule.”

Photo Credit: rvw

4 Ways That Employee Screening Boosts Employers’ ROI

November 13, 2008

In this tough economy hiring good employees who are both efficient and well-qualified can play a significant role in boosting an employer’s ROI. On the other hand, a bad hire can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line. It’s not uncommon for one poor hiring decision to result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Today, you’ll discover 4 ways in which employee screening and background checks can translate into a higher ROI.

#1 – Avoids Negligent Hiring Lawsuits

If one or more of your staff is injured at the hands of another employee, there may be grounds for a negligent hiring lawsuit. If an employer failed to properly screen the offending employee, that employer can be sued. Keep in mind that the average settlement for this type of lawsuit is over $1 million.

#2 – Minimizes Employee Turnover

Hiring and training a new employee is expensive. If an employer discovers that the employee has a substance abuse problem, criminal record, or history of violence, there may be a need to replace that person. By conducting pre-employment background checks, employers can avoid bad hires, reducing employee turnover costs in the process.

#3 – Increases Staff Productivity

Along with reducing staff turnover, hiring competent employees increases your staff’s overall productivity. There’s less likelihood of a disruption in the workplace caused by a bad hire. Plus, by limiting turnover, an employer can allocate fewer resources to redundant training.

#4 – Reduces Employee Theft

A bad hire is more likely to commit theft in the workplace. Even small, seemingly benign incidents (for example, stealing a box of pens) can signal the beginning of a habit. Eventually, the employee may begin pilfering valuable assets. Employers can limit employee theft by thoroughly screening applicants before hiring them.

Protecting The Bottom Line

A company’s bottom line involves more than merely revenues and the costs of doing business. Hiring a bad employee can have a devastating effect on an employer’s profitability. Negligent hiring lawsuits, employee turnover, low staff productivity, and employee theft can each have a significant impact. By performing comprehensive background checks and conducting pre-employment screening, employers can protect their staff while boosting their ROI.

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Photo Credit: AMagill

Employee Screening Articles For October

October 31, 2008

In case you missed any of our employee screening articles for October, here’s a quick recap:

Sex Offenders and Halloween Safety Tips- Part 2

Sex Offenders and Halloween Safety Tips

Pre-Employment Drug Testing For Teachers

Background Checks For The Education Industry

Background Checks For Temporary Employees

Do You Have a Sex Offender Working For You?

Immigration Crackdown – HR Director Indicted

Drug-Free Work Week

Why Gaps In Employment Are A Red Flag

$100 Million For E-Verify

Hiring For Hotels: Why Screening Is Essential

Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss any helpful tips and articles like these.

$100 Million For E-Verify

October 2, 2008

Border Crossing

On September 30, 2008, President Bush signed a spending bill (H.R. 2638) which includes $100 million in funding for the E-Verify Program until March 6, 2009.

E-Verify is an online system operated jointly by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Participating employers can check the work status of new hires online by comparing information from an employee’s I-9 form against SSA and Department of Homeland Security databases.

The E-Verify program was scheduled to sunset at the end of November 2008 if it was not extended or reauthorized. The Department of Homeland Security’s Appropriations bill allocated $100 million and 255 positions for E-Verify.

E-Verify still remains a voluntary program even though some states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina and most recently Missouri have all mandated its use in some form.

With this funding, I expect there will be a push for more states to mandate it’s use even though it’s not a perfect system.

Photo Credit: O.Cosma

Can You Tell If Your Applicant Is Lying?

September 26, 2008

It’s estimated that nearly 30% of job applicants lie on their resumes. Millions of candidates misrepresent their education, work history, and qualifications. Even worse, they might be hiding a criminal past. According to ADP Screening and Selection, out of over 2 million background checks performed in 2001, over 40% of applicants lied about their past employment or education.

Some HR executives are confident that their interviewing skills can help them identify liars. But, studies show that visual clues are often misleading. And the cost of hiring a bad employee can be enormous.

When Visual Clues Are Unreliable

HR professionals often think that a lack of eye contact or excessive squirming is evidence that a potential hire is lying. But, such visual clues are unreliable. A candidate who doesn’t maintain eye contact and fidgets during an interview may be well-qualified, yet simply nervous. Eliminating him from the applicant pool can be a lost opportunity for an organization. What’s more, millions of people are adept at lying. Lacking visual evidence of dishonesty, an HR executive may hire a candidate who has misrepresented himself.

The True Cost Of A Bad Hire

Hiring someone who has lied on his resume can create a number of costly problems for a business. For example, if a new employee lied about his qualifications, a business might be forced to waste time training that employee or looking for another candidate. If a criminal history remains hidden, the costs can be much higher. Employee theft, workplace violence, and substance abuse can lead to expensive negligent hiring lawsuits. The true cost of hiring a bad employee can be unfathomable.

Background Checks Are Essential

Because employers and HR professionals can’t depend upon visual clues to identify lying applicants, they must perform comprehensive background checks. Checking references, calling past employers, and looking for hidden criminal records is the only reliable way to reveal whether an applicant is misrepresenting himself. If your business is hiring employees without conducting background checks, you are exposing your company to unnecessary risk.

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4 Questions Employers Have About Employee Screening

September 11, 2008

4 Questions Employers Have About Employee Screening Even though employee screening should be a fundamental part of every company’s hiring practices, many employers are concerned about how to take action on it. Most of them understand the severe costs of hiring a bad employee. But, they are still uncertain about how to begin screening candidates and conducting background checks.

Here are 4 common questions that many employers have about employee screening…

#1 – “Can We Afford Screening?”

The question that employers should be asking is, “Can we afford not to conduct employee screening?” Hiring a person without knowing whether he has a criminal record, drug problem, or a history of violence can be far more expensive than doing a background check. A single violent outburst in the workplace can end up costing millions. Meanwhile, screening a job candidate by running a thorough background check usually costs less than what employers spend on that employee during the first day.

#2 – “Do I Have A Legal Right To Screen?”

The government allows employers to conduct intense screening and background checks to order to avoid hiring bad candidates. Once a potential hire signs a consent form, the employer can legally begin checking credit reports, motor vehicle records and civil reports. They can also perform a criminal history search while verifying the candidate’s employment and education history.

#3 – “How Much Time Does Take?”

One of the concerns that employers have is whether doing an exhaustive background check will take too much time. A thorough screening process shouldn’t require more than a few days. Plus, having a policy of doing employee screening tends to discourage bad candidates from applying.

#4 – “Do I Have The Resources?”

Screening job candidates properly does require time and attention. Because many hiring managers are increasingly busy, a lot of companies choose to outsource the job to an experienced employee screening company. This type of service can immediately start conducting extensive background checks on potential hires.

Employers should consider employee screening as a critical part of the hiring process. It’s legal, cost-effective, can be done quickly and by outsourcing, doesn’t require a boost in HR staff. And the nightmare it can help employers avoid from taking on bad hires is immeasurable.

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